Henry and I came home from downtown on Friday to find that our neighborhood covered in what looked to be salt pellets. It turns out that we got a flurry of sleet. Although our neighborhood was one of the only ones in the city that got any white stuff, the Bay Area has been inundated with wacky winter weather of late, with snow supposedly falling at elevations as low as 200 feet.
Anyway, this was the first time that Henry had ever seen anything close to snow. He was thrilled! After seeing some folks making a snowman across the street, I got inspired and as soon as we got home, Henry and I went out on the deck and tried our hand at one.
OK, so it was only a foot high or so, but it was still neat. And Henry and I both thought it was a heck of a lot of fun!
Henry has become in recent weeks and months quite the mimic or parrot. He often seems to be repeat certain words or phrases that Tara and I have said to him.
What's fun is to see him starting to put things together on his own.
Since he was an infant, Tara and I have been counting to him or reciting the alphabet. So, when I carry him up the stairs, I count off the steps. Or when we put him in his pajamas, we count off the snaps as we fasten them.
Late last year, he started to do some counting on his own, often prompted by us. But he never got terribly far -- until somewhere around New Year's Day.
Henry was in his room playing while Tara and I were in the bathroom getting dressed. We had the door to the bathroom cracked so that we could monitor him. And all of a sudden, Henry just starts counting. He made it all the way from one to 10 that first time and in the weeks since, he's counted at least as high as 17 that I can recall.
But more than just reciting numbers, he starting to learn how to actually count objects. Last night, for instance, he started counting the buttons on my shirt. (He counted several of the more than once, but it was still a neat start.)
Beyond counting, though, Henry has a lot of cute phrases that he's been saying lately that he obviously got from Tara and me.
Often over the last month or so, Henry will say something that's either unverifiable or obviously incorrect. For instance -- and this is just an example, not an actual quote -- he'll say something like, "the sky is green," or "Bunny" -- his stuffed rabbit doll -- "is a boy." Our typical conversation from that point usually goes like this:
Well, Henry has in the last couple of days started using my line. So, instead of him responding "Yes," to my "Really," Henry will say "interesting." It's really cute.
This morning he had another couple of cute phrases. For a couple weeks now, regarding various objects or foods or things in his life, he's been asking Tara and me, "Do you like it?"
Before Chandra, our first nanny, moved to Florida last month, she left with us a Fisher Price Little People firehouse still in its box. Not long afterward, Tara's Mom gave us a box of Tara's and Trevor's toys she had found in her attic. We ended up setting both boxes on our drier, unsure of what to do with them.
Henry has a bunch of toys already, which we had finally gotten organized into shelves and bins in recent months. And his birthday is coming up, which will probably mean a bunch more toys. So we didn't want to overwhelm him -- or us -- with a bunch of new ones.
That's a good thought and all, but with the toys all on the drier in plain site, Henry saw them everytime he went in the garage. And Tara and I quickly ran out of excuses as to why he couldn't have or play with the toys right then.
Tara broke down a week ago or so and brought up the box of toys from her mom. But we held off on the firehouse. Well, we held off until yesterday when Henry finally had a melt down about it after seeing it in the garage for the upteenth time.
(You may well wonder why we didn't just hide it. That's a fine question. Partly it's because we just didn't think about it until Henry saw it. Partly it's because Henry's memory is dang good now that even if we had, he'd still be asking for it.
(For instance, we hired a nanny named Juliana to replace Chandra. Because of a family emergency, she only worked one and a half days for us early last month. Despite that, Henry to this day still remembers and says, giggling, that "Juliana said, 'goodie, goodie.'")
Anyway, to get back to the point, after waiting for Henry to calm down, we let him have the firehouse. And he thought it was great. I think he played with it much of the day yesterday and was talking about the "e-larm" on the firehouse when I got home from work last night.
This morning, he asked Tara, concerning the firehouse, "do you like it?" In turn, Tara asked Henry if he liked it. Henry's response: "I love it."
Moreover, when he got out of bed this morning, he kept saying, "pretty cool" -- another one of his recent phrases -- over and over. When I asked him to show me what was "pretty cool," he took me to his firehouse and said something like, "It's pretty cool!"
Like I said, Henry is pretty cute! (Not to mention darn smart!)
Henry is now an interstate singing sensation.
I called my parents tonight and Henry entertained them by signing (with me) "The Eyes of Texas." Since the song has the same melody as "I've Been Workin' on the Railroad," we proceeded on to "Somone's in the Kitchen with Dinah," and "Fee-Fy-Fiddly-eye-O." My parents -- and Tara and I, of course -- got a huge kick out of Henry's singing.
Henry's crooning tonight started earlier in the evening when he and I were playing in his room waiting for Tara to finish working. He has a Fisher-Price Little People bus that makes various sounds and plays a number of different songs when you press down on the driver's seat. Among those songs is "If You're Happy And You Know It."
After hearing the bus play the melody for "If You're Happy," Henry started singing the song. So, I decided to sing along with him. After the first verse, I switched from "clap your hands" to "stomp your feet." But Henry was determined to sing "clap your hands" no matter what I sang. That became our running gag the rest of the night. I'd try to sing a different verse and he would go right back to "clap your hands." That gave him the giggles no end -- and me too.
Henry was very cute tonight.
Since he was a newborn, Tara and I have been singing to him regularly, often as a way of getting him in the mood for a nap. Some of our regular songs have been "Slip Sliding Away" by Paul Simon, "Frog Went A'Courtin'" by The Brothers Four and "King of the Road" by Roger Miller.
(Actually, we began singing to him when he was still in the womb. I was determined that by the time he was born, he would know "The Eyes of Texas" by heart. And, in fact, he seemed to.)
Well, lo and behold, all that singing seems to have paid off. Henry has started to sing and, when we sing, he recognizes the lyrics and can fill in the blanks.
We've known for a while that he knew "Slip Sliding Away." That's often my opening tune when trying to sing him to sleep. And in recent months when I've tried to dance and sing to him, he'll start singing "Slip Sliding Away" to me before I begin.
But he's started to sing other songs now too. For instance, tonight, he was signing "Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah," from "I've Been Workin' On the Railroad." And when we sang "Frog Went A'Courtin'" or "King of the Road," he would fill in the end of nearly every line.
His memory is pretty impressive. We've not sung "King of the Road" all that often over the last year, and I can't even remember the last time I sang it to him. But he knew big chunks of it tonight when I was singing it.
He's demonstrated similar recall abilities in recent months with his books. My last entry talked about his recollection of lines in "Mr. Brown Can Moo" and the lollipop in "The Very Hungry Caterpillar." But he also can fill in the last word of just about every line in "Madelline," and knows almost all of "Hop on Pop."
The kid is darn smart.